It's a basic necessity, yet as consumers in 2014, we are faced with prioritizing nutrition against carbon footprint, pesticide and other chemical residues, genetically modified organisms, and taste. Not to lessen the importance of farm worker rights and local economies.
Is it better to purchase and eat organic foods shipped thousands of miles or conventionally grown produce from down the road? If the organic pest or disease prevention option is worse for the water table, is it better to use a small amount of chemical prevention?
If millions suffer from poor nutrition in developing countries, is it better to create "super foods" that will make them healthier but leave them dependent on multinational conglomerates, or let them keep control of their own food supply by saving and growing seeds well-suited to their own environments?
No longer must we worry about just growing and preserving enough food to keep from starving. Now we must weigh the pros and cons of our food buying choices.
Frankly, the marketplace of food is so overwhelming, my husband, Kevin, and I chose several years ago to take control of as much of what we eat as we can -- by growing it organically ourselves. Since we live on a half-acre in the heart of a small city, it's been a challenge. Not to mention how the learning curve and time restrictions limit our desires.
But each year we've grown a few more fruits and vegetables than the year before, tried new techniques, perfected old techniques, and learned as much as we can from books, from neighbors, from the Internet and from fellow gardeners.
After all, food is a basic necessity. It's a part of our history.